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This strikes my curiosity.

I have two versions of my website. A desktop version and a mobile version. The objective of both websites is to allow users to view whatever full size photos they like to see.

On the desktop version of the site, I fill it with a lot of helpful text detailing each extra option one can do with a photo such as ordering it, etc.

On the mobile site, I have it very basic. Maybe a sentence describing a photo and the photo and that's it.

People say content is king and I think the minimum number of words per page should be 250 to avoid a thin-content penalty. So far, I have not received that on the mobile site from google webmaster tools, yet I never submitted a sitemap to the mobile site. I only submitted one for the desktop site.

The reason why I make the mobile version mostly stripped down is because I want users to spend less money on bandwidth and paragraphs can eat bandwidth, especially if they're decorated.

So with that set aside, is there a different minimum required word limit for mobile sites in comparison to desktop sites in order to evade google's thin-content penalty?

The average age group of users visiting my site range from about 18 to 24 and younger people cannot afford a lot of money.

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    When you say- 18 to 24 and younger people cannot afford a lot of money I am assuming the parents aren't paying the phone bill?? ;-) Text is a lot cheaper on bandwidth than images. I would not skimp on the text, but size the image to save bandwidth. You can make it possible to see larger images of course. But just lean out the initial images as much as possible. You will likely save more bandwidth that way. But if I remember right, you are using a PHP something to size images?? – closetnoc Mar 31 '15 at 5:01
  • Yes. But I have already sized and optimized the images – Mike Mar 31 '15 at 15:29
  • I am not aware of a text limit or recommendation. However, I would imagine that mobile users have shorter attention spans as a result of not doing deep research but looking for something more specific while on the go. Therefore, I would imagine just enough text to be effective in search and not to overwhelm the user. This could change from phone to tablet, though I am seeing good results from phone users and my pages can be rather long. You can offer a link to a more detailed page if the user wants to download it. This would allow you to go minimum while being effective and not lose users. – closetnoc Mar 31 '15 at 15:38
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    As @closetnoc suggests, the problem with regards to textual content on mobile is not one of bandwidth but one of screen space - physically fitting that text on the screen (with other content) and not having an endless scroll. Just to get the KBs into perspective... a 500 word essay is only about 3KB uncompressed (1.6KB compressed). A single 100x75px highly compressed jpg thumbnail is going to be around 2KB. A single low-res 320px image is going to be about 10x that. – MrWhite Mar 31 '15 at 23:28
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The first issue here as I see it is the misconception that you absolutely must maintain a minimum number of words per page to avoid thin content penalties. This used to be the case a few years back but these days even Google's own advice is don't write a site for Google write it for your consumers. Second matter is that Google fully expects the mobile version of a site to be a lofi version of the main site and that while substantially the page will have the same content certain extraneous features will be lacking. Based on your question you don't seem to be minimising content in the mobile site, rather you are reducing the extraneous ancillary text around the page, this is exactly what Google expects webmasters to do and shouldn't cause you to experience any issues.

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